Event organiser researches custom medals on his laptop.
Struggling to think up a medal design? You're in the right place!

Designing a custom medal can often be the toughest part of the order process.

And while many medal suppliers, like us at Badges And Medals, design it for you, having a concept ready can speed up the process and add richness to the final product.

But pinning down a design idea that clicks can feel like trying to catch a leaf in a breeze. At Badges And Medals, we know this well, having created thousands of unique medal designs from scratch. Our experience has taught us that when the standard brainstorming sessions lead you nowhere, it's time to look outward for that spark.

In this guide, we'll teach you where to find medal design inspiration, allowing you to whip up ideas and then build on them to create stunning, awe-inspiring designs.

  1. Draw Inspiration From Your Brand Style Guide

A brand style guide is a document that outlines how your company's or event’s brand should be presented. It includes guidelines on logos, colour palettes, typography, imagery, and sometimes even the language and tone to use in communications. The purpose of a brand style guide is to ensure your brand is consistent and recognisable.

Your brand style guide is as unique as a fingerprint, making it a rich well of inspiration for your medal's design. Delve through its pages and consider how its guidelines can inspire you: whether your colour palette can guide the medal’s hues, your logo can inspire its shape, or your mission statement can influence its theme.

For example, if your event is committed to minimising its environmental footprint, as stated in your brand style guide, then perhaps look at eco-friendly medal materials such as wood or stone.

A collage of medal design ideas for a custom Badges And Medals medal.Your brand style guide can inspire all sorts of ideas!

  1. Look At The Medal Designs Of Similar Events

There's wisdom in the saying, "Good artists borrow, great artists steal." It doesn't mean blatantly copying medal designs but absorbing and reinterpreting them to create something uniquely yours.

Look around at other events, especially those in the same niche as you, such as other running events. How do their medals stand out? What makes them so memorable or covetable?

If you're having trouble answering these questions, close your eyes and think: "What part of the medal do I remember first?" Blend, twist, and turn these aspects into something unique to your event.

Where to look:

A good place to start is the social media pages of the events you're interested in, keeping in mind that most events prefer to use Instagram or Facebook to post pictures. Don't just look for what the event posts - you'll often gain a wider range of medal photos from recipients, so check what the event has been tagged in.

Additionally, explore the event’s official website, which might have a photo gallery, or look for any news articles covering the event. These sources often provide different perspectives and detailed images of the medals, offering ideas for your own design.

  1. Use Medal Suppliers To Fuel Your Imagination

Who better to inspire your next medal design than the people who craft them day in, and day out? Medal suppliers don’t just manufacture custom medals - they often design them as well. There are three reasons why this makes them a treasure trove of inspiration:

  • Trend awareness:
    Medal suppliers keep up with the latest design trends to ensure their medals stay fresh and relevant. By looking at their portfolio of work, you get a curated insight into what’s trending now in the world of medal design.

  • Understanding of 'good' design:
    What makes a medal design 'good'? medal suppliers know it’s about striking the right balance between beauty, emotional resonance, and practical use and apply this to their designs. It means the inspiration you gain from them is top-notch.

  • Multiple ideas:
    Medal suppliers like Badges And Medals sometimes create hundreds, if not thousands, of new, custom medal designs each year. Each has its own style, themes, and materials, providing a broad spectrum of ideas for you to explore.

Where to look:

Once you find a medal supplier you like, head to their social media pages to see what designs they've posted or been tagged in. Alternatively, check out their website - many medal suppliers have a portfolio of work on their website to encourage people to partner with them. If all else fails and you can't find a portfolio on their website or social media channels, try sending them an email. Most suppliers are happy to share examples of their work, even if it’s not publicly advertised.

A compilation of medal design ideas, pulled from Badges And Medals' Instagram page,
Medal suppliers are a great source of medal inspiration.

  1. Scan Social Media For Fresh Ideas

Haven't got a specific event or medals supplier in mind to pull inspiration from? Don't worry! Just head to social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, where heaps of design ideas are waiting for you.

The best part? Most of these will be from outside your local area. This means you might see styles you and your colleagues have never seen before! Simply pop in some words related to your event or desired medal into the search bar and explore the flood of images and ideas.

Here's what we recommend for each platform:

How To Find Medal Design Inspiration On Pinterest:

Pinterest is popular among medal suppliers and designers because it allows them to link the content they upload to their websites. This makes it easier for them to attract and convert customers. To find design inspiration on Pinterest, you can use either hashtags or keywords in the search bar. (Keep in mind that search results for hashtags are sorted by what's newest, while keywords are sorted by what's most relevant to you.)

Top keywords to use on Pinterest to find custom medal inspiration:

  • Medal
  • Custom medal.
  • [Sport] medal. For example: 'marathon medal'.
    [Design style] medal. For example: 'modern medal.
    • Top design styles include 'modern', 'rustic', and 'traditional'.

Top hashtags to use on Pinterest to find custom medal inspiration:

  • #Medal
  • #Award
  • #AwardDesign
  • #CustomMedal

How To Find Medal Design Inspiration On Instagram:

Instagram is the go-to platform for recipients and events because of its real-time sharing capabilities, which makes it easy to share snapshots from award ceremonies. Just like Pinterest, you can use both hashtags and keywords to find design inspiration on the site.

Top keywords to use on Instagram to find custom award inspiration:

  • Medal.
  • Custom medal.
  • [Sport] medal. For example: 'marathon medal'.

Top hashtags to use on Instagram to find custom award inspiration:

  • #Medal
  • #MedalMonday
  • #MedalsOfTheWorld
  1. Find Design Ideas In Your Everyday Life

Inspiration can strike in the most unexpected places.

Look around – the skyline of your city, for instance, can inspire the silhouette of your medal and pay homage to where the event took place. Tree bark from your local park could influence the texture of your medal, making it a piece that invites touch and celebrates the beauty of nature.

Keep your mind open to ideas! It's in these details that unique designs are born.

An image of New Zealand Paragliding's Open 2023 medal, which features Mt Aspiring.Event organisers for the 2023 New Zealand Paragliding Open loved Mt Aspiring so much that they add it to their design.

Make Your Design A Reality

Finding the perfect design inspiration for your medals can be a game-changer. With the insights and directions from Badges And Medals, you're now ready to explore, discover, and create designs that truly resonate with your event.

Eager to see your ideas become a reality? Connect with Badges And Medals for a complimentary medal design consultation. Together, we’ll bring your vision to life, from the initial concept to a breath-taking final product that goes beyond expectations.

Get Your Free Design